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July 1, 2010 Opinions E-mail

Celebrating Our Freedoms
This weekend as we barbecue, watch or participate in parades or shoot off fireworks, let's not forget the reason we celebrate the 4th of July.

Through decades of civil strife, military rebellion, acts of heroism and treachery and differences of opinions between defenders of the old government and supporters of the new, our nation finally came together on July 4, 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

A brief history: The Declaration was submitted by a committee of five, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. It was written by Jefferson and changes were made by Franklin and Adams before it was submitted to Congress.

On July 1, 1776, Congress convened. The discussion in Congress resulted in some alterations and deletions, but the basic document remained Jefferson's. The process of revision continued through all of July 3 and into the late morning of July 4. Then, at last, church bells rang out over Philadelphia; the Declaration had been officially adopted.   Most of the delegates signed the Declaration Aug. 2, 1776.

John Hancock, the President of  Congress, was the first to sign the sheet of parchment measuring 24- 1⁄4 by 29-  3⁄4 inches. He used a bold signature centered below the text. In accordance with prevailing custom, the other delegates began to sign at the right below the text, their signatures arranged according to the geographic location of the states they represented.

The first printed copies of the Declaration of Independence were turned out from the shop of John Dunlap, official printer to the Congress. On the morning of July 5, copies were dispatched by members of Congress to various assemblies, conventions, and committees as well as to the commanders of Continental troops. 

Only 40 years after the ink was first affixed to parchment, the signatures began to fade and the Declaration went through numerous preservation attempts and had many homes, from humble lodgings  to government offices before reaching its current destination at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC with the  Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Its ink may have faded, but  its meaning and intent have remained intact. 

This Independence Day take a few moments to ponder the freedoms we are celebrating and if you haven’t read the Declaration since high school, this might refresh your memory:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”  

To learn more about our National Treasure visit declaration.html.

June 24, 2010 Opinions E-mail
This We think....
 We think the Baker City Council made a wise decision in selecting Gail Duman to fill the council seat recently vacated by Andrew Bryan. She has the experience as a former city councilor, she had the votes (she missed getting re-elected in 2008 by a mere 105 votes) and she has indicated she wants the position.

With only six months to go to fulfill Bryan's term, there was no need to open this position to applicants, and possibly spend weeks debating over who the best
candidate is, voters will decide who will fill this position soon enough.

In the meantime Duman knows the job and can step in without hardly missing a beat or disrupting the flow of city business.

—Letters To The Editor—
Allegations Not True
To The Record-Courier:
At the last regular Baker City Council meeting--the same meeting at which Councilor Milo Pope pointing at the audience angrily said to Mayor Dennis Dorrah, "Would that gentleman be asked to shut the hell up?"--Pope lamented that, if city council appointed Gail Duman to the position recently vacated by Andrew Bryan, he and Councilor Sam Bass would be in a 2-5 minority. 

But aren’t many City Council votes 7-0? Perhaps Pope’s 2-5 comment makes sense if Pope had hoped to some day increase, rather than decrease, the number of like-minded councilors from three to four, so they could rehire Steve Brocato as city manager. After all, that appeared to me to be the strategy behind the attempt to recall Mayor Dorrah and Councilor Beverly Calder that failed last October with a majority of citizens voting NO by over 2 to 1.

I'm referring to the same Steve Brocato--fired a year ago as Baker City manager--who last month filed a Federal lawsuit against Baker City, the four city councilors who voted to fire him, and me. Surprisingly Brocato's attorneys advertised the lawsuit in a "PRESS RELEASE" issued to Oregon news media announcing in all caps and bolded: "FORMER BAKER CITY MANAGER STEPHEN BROCATO FILES WHISTLEBLOWER LAWSUIT AGAINST BAKER CITY, COUNCIL MEMBERS."

Here’s my opinion on the merits of Brocato’s case. The whistleblower allegation against the City will fail, because, 1. It is not true; 2. There were other legitimate reasons to fire Brocato; and 3. Under the City Charter and without a contract, City Council doesn’t need a reason to fire a city manager, just as a city manager without a contract may resign without reason and at a moment’s notice. Political pressures, not legal ones, keep City Councils and city managers from acting irresponsibly.

And I predict the allegations that four city councilors and I defamed Brocato will fail, because they are not true. 

If any defamation has taken place, it comes from Brocato’s lawsuit, in which he has publicly essentially labeled all five of us liars. To me, that sounds like a winnable defamation suit.
Gary Dielman
Baker City, Ore.

Then And Now
To The Record-Courier:
Of all of the tragedies that have happened in our lifetime this oil well accident will no doubt go down in history as one of the worst ever. We can’t help but wish it had never happened but we also recognize the fact that all of the new technology that we develop there are risks involved and man’s ingenuity will no doubt help solve it.
This accident has brought about much anger, frustration and long term ecological problems to every segment of the economy of the entire Gulf Coast.

I can’t help but think about what happened in our own community without any big outcry from the general public. Just think what action by tree hugger environmental groups, government and spotted owl did for this community.

The local lumber industry probably had over 300 employees plus all the other businesses that supported these workers.

This was all a man made disaster, it didn’t have to happen. Remember I am from the government and am here to help you.
Eric Romtvedt
Baker City, Ore.

Traffic During Elkhorn Classic Bike Races Was A ‘Nightmare’
To The Record-Courier:
The traffic layout for the Elkhorn Classic was a nightmare. It took me 45  minutes to get to the other side of town. The signage on the barricades directing people to detours was unreadable unless you came to a complete stop, which many people did.
 The traffic controllers were children. What do you do when a child is holding a stop sign in one hand and waving to you to drive across an intersection with the other?
 The bicyclists chose to disregard the simplest traffic laws, such as stopping and yielding to the right.

 The organizers of the Elkhorn Classic should be required to use electronic reader boards to alert car traffic to detours. These signs should also be posted on exit 304 and 306.

 Children should not be used for directing traffic on any streets. Volunteers should take a flagger's course and wear a uniform so that they are safe and visible.
 If the bicyclists and its organizers are unable to behave and follow the laws of Baker City, the city should drop all support for this event.
Paul Dunkak
Baker City

Federal Government Unprepared For Disasters
To The Record-Courier:
Our federal government under two administrations has dropped the ball with a major regional problem and unfortunately the Gulf oil spill debacle succeeded the hurricane Katrina debacle in the same region of the country.  Where are FEMA and other government agencies when these problems occur?

The Gulf oil spill started on April 20, 2010. Louisiana asked for federal assistance within a few days, but the federal government did not start recognizing the seriousness of the problem until May 1, 2010.  In late April, Louisiana asked the federal government (Army Corps of Engineers) for dredges to build protective sand berms on the coastline, but permission to build the berms was not provided until early June, which was too late to protect the coastline..

Approximately 150 boats equipped with oil skimmers are trying to siphon off the oil from the surface of the Gulf, but a thousand additional boats could be needed.  Why isn’t the federal government demanding BP hire and outfit with skimmers additional boats that are available in the Gulf of Mexico?  Why doesn’t the federal government make Navy and Coast Guard boats available?  I believe they could be equipped with skimming equipment.

Someone mentioned the need to have large tankers on site to help suction up the surface oil.  Why wasn’t BP required to provide the tankers?  The U.S. merchant marine has ships on call for emergencies.  The U.S. Navy has oilers (tankers). 
Talks by President Obama,visits to the Gulf beaches by the administration, meetings with BP, restitution by BP, and the eventual cleanup of the ecological disaster will not stop the flow of oil from the leaking well.  With all of our technology why haven’t we been able to figure out how to stop/contain the leak?

And why were oil companies allowed to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico without the installation of emergency remote control shut off systems?  The systems are currently employed on foreign deep water oil wells.

The federal government, with all of its resources, continues to be unprepared to respond to and manage the resolution of major regional disasters.
Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, NH

June 17, 2010 Opinions E-mail

It Was A Bit Of A Scare
When Oregon Legislature proposed cuts last week because of a $577 million budget shortfall that would result in the release of incarcerated criminals, we were concerned. When it was announced that the three prisons closing included the local Powder River Correctional Facility, we were really concerned. We had to wonder how much more of a hit could our already employment distressed community take?
However, Kulongoski later announced that he would not allow the three prisons to close and no prisoners would be set free before their time is up.

It was kind of like watching a scary movie where the woman hears a noise and goes into the basement to check it out. Only instead of getting assaulted by a knife-wielding maniac, she finds a harmless kitten roaming around. It doesn’t turn out well like this in the  movies very often, and likewise when it comes to budget cuts. We had a little scare, but now it’s O.K. Or is it?

Communications spokesperson for Kulongoski, Anna Richter Taylor, said as an alternative to closing the prisons, the Governor supports dedicating the $15 million  needed to keep the prisons open be taken out of  State emergency funds of which there is currently about $50 million available.

We applaud the Governor for declining to close the three prisons! But exactly where are we going to make up the remaining $562 million shortfall? 

We of course, understand the need for budget cuts, but in these economically troubled times, we agree with Kulongoski that closing one of a community’s  larger employers is not a prudent move. Nor do we like the idea of criminals going free before they have served their allotted time.

We would rather see, as was suggested to the Governor by Oregon legislators, across the board cuts spread wide, taking smaller cuts over a multitude of services and jobs rather than see the entire cancelation of any one entity. Although the three prisons were initially included in this “across the board” tactic, we don’t think they spread it far enough across the board.

Folks can usually get by with a little less, but they can’t afford to lose their entire income. And when they do lose their jobs it further taxes the already stressed State coffers with unemployment payments and aid. It is estimated that one in five Oregonians is already on food stamps.

Opponents of across the board cuts  have called it callous. But what is more callous —  taking away the entire income of several hundred families or asking everyone dependent on State wages to take a little less?

—Letters To The Editor—
Don’t Blame The City For Kicking Rally Out Of Downtown Area
To The Record-Courier:
Things aren't always what they seem.  Because the rally is poised to expand in the future, it became apparent to us that Main Street was not going to be a  viable long term solution for the rally. We love Baker City and its charm and Main Street will always be part of the Rally. It just won't be the only part. We started this trend last year and it worked well. 

So don't blame the City, they didn't kick us out of downtown, it was our choice to focus our efforts at the Sunridge. We will continue in our efforts to improve the Rally and strengthen our ties with the great people of Baker City.
Steve Folkestad
Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally

Forest Service Must Act Consistently With Federal Policy
To The Record-Courier:
The Organic administration Act of 1897 makes clear that the Forest Service must act consistently with the federal policy of promoting mineral development. Section 1 of that act precludes the Secretary of Ag from taking any action that would “prohibit any person from entering such national forests for all proper and lawful purposes, including that of prospecting, locating, and developing the mineral resources there of” 16 U.S. code 478 to “reasonably” protect the environment.

United States Dept. of Ag, forest service minerals program handbook preface (1983). See also forest service manual 2802 (Dec. 1986) (stating that the F.S. policy is to “ensure that exploration, development, and production of mineral and energy resources is done in a sound manner.” See PL187 the “Surface Resource” Act of 1955 for surface use(s) “incidental there to” (30 USCS 601 et seq) provided by Section 612 (b) “that any ‘use’ of the surface of any such mining claim by the United States, (i.e. F.S.-B.L.M.) its permittees or licensees, shall be such as not to endanger or materially interfere with prospecting, mining or processing (Plans of aps?) (or P.O.O.) “uses” reasonable incident there to.” This, public law 167, precludes all State’s land use(s) planning by virtue of Art IV, Section 3, 2nd para – Property closure is to be vested (public trust) by U.S. Congress, not by the State’s administrative fiat, as the United State’s Supreme courts decision was reversing 9th Circuit Court appeals, that quote; “distinction between land-use planning and the environmental regulations (of states) (Oregon)? Was unsupportable, either as an integration of the “governing statutes “or as a matter of logic.” –pg. 8-480 U.S. 572; 1075.CT.1419-94L.Ed2d577-(1987).

In the language used in the Surface Resource Act PL 167- “Permittees” or  “licensees,” congress didn’t intend to make a “permittee” of persons acting under 1872 acts.

This language implied that the 1872 acts were a “statutory grant” by U.S. codes 30, sections 22 & 26, and not subjected to P.O.O. (plans of ops), as a permittee, in the land use(s) planning, not subject to federal mineral leasing laws, reserved from 1872 acts.

Under rule of law; Possessions 22-pre-emption by federal law, statutes. State law (pg 8) head note (12A) (12B)- State law can be pre-empted in either two general ways; (1) if congress evidences an intent to occupy a given field (1872 acts?), any state law falling with in that field is pre-empted; or (2) if congress does not entirely displace state regulation over the matter in question, state law is still pre-empted to the extent, it actually conflicts with the operation or objectives of federal law-that is, where the state law stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment of the full purposes and objectives of congress. (See Surface Resource Act-PL 167-1955 act-intent.)
See also National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act of 1980, 2(a)(1), 30 USC and 1601 (a)(7) (congressional finding that the availability of minerals “is essential for national concerns for energy and the environment”; 3,30 US Code – 1602 (It is the continuing policy of the U.S. to promote and adequate and stable supply of materials necessary to maintain national security, economic well being and industrial production will appropriate attention to a long-term balance between resource production, energy use(s), resources conservation, and social needs.

See also mining and minerals policy act of (1970) 2,30 US Code 21a., as the demand for minerals has increased during the last century, congress has emphasized that an economically sound and “stable” domestic mining ---industry is important to the economy and national security. (2, 30 US code 21a.)

It would appear that the state (gov office) and cabinets and the federal agencies, under the Pres. Obama administration-cabinets,- by fiat, are to a conspiracy to the above citing to the development of said conditions, to “boot strapped” the congressional intent? As “partners” or “comrades” to a conspiracy via “agents of law,” Admin Police State???
Liberals are anti mining?
Bruce Parke
Sumpter, Ore.

Bonebrake Good Choice For  State Library Board 
To The Record-Courier:
Gov. Ted Kulongoski made a very astute decision to appoint Aletha Bonebrake to the State Library Board.

Aletha spear-headed the drive to establish the Baker County Library District and then the levies to remodel the Baker City building and establish branch libraries in Haines, Halfway, Richland, Huntington, Sumpter and Unity.

The Library Journal named the Baker County Library as one of the three best small libraries in America. What an honor and a tribute to Aletha ad all of those who devoted time and energy to improve library services.
Frances Burgess
Baker City, Ore.

June 10, 2010 Opinions E-mail
—Letters To The Editor—

Thanks To Duck Derby Participants
To The Record-Courier:
The Huntington Historical Museum would like to thank everyone that helped make our Duck Derby on Memorial Day weekend a huge success.
We  want to thank all of the people who helped at the River, the Merchants that helped sell our ducks and to all the people who purchased ducks. We put the ducks back in the river and it all went very well. We did this in Memory of our Chairman Beverly McLean who passed away April 30. She will be greatly missed.

It was so great to see our community come together and work as a team for the weekend festivities. We had many people visit our Museum over the weekend. We would like to invite all people from Huntington and our surrounding towns to visit our Museum. We are open on Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. PDT, every weekend through Labor Day.

We will look forward to seeing all of you and thanks from the Museum Board of Directors.
Norma Barton

Reality vs. Illusions
To The Record-Courier:
In this day and age whatever happened to modernization in all facets of life? Even in the simplicity of life itself, whether it be politics etc., you name it!

Even just to be one's self as such is almost impossible depending on the surroundings and circumstances involved etc. I have had many remind me to be myself, which is easier said than done in lieu of issues we have had to deal with. For the lack or the betterment of one's idiotic judgement,  assuming they know what they are really all about without getting to know the character themselves to see what the issues really are. Having things misconstrued in all directions, etc., behind one's back  is no fun especially when sacrifices  are made to keep a happy medium where all are concerned and to hopefully smooth things over.

For example, with myself I had a carefree Christmas holiday away from family and enjoyed myself immensely given the nice day we had during the winter, which was unlike last year’s winter. Then we were back on the old roller coaster again....whatever that is these days. Not to mention though we were really blessed by some dear friends and all at Christmas time and so a little of good and all seemed to put things in perspective.

So in the Christian sense of the word judge not least you be judged, whatever is measured out shall be measured back...if you have anger within you it will be in anger and have side affects etc. that would make things more unbearable to deal with than with the here and now. And having rightful attitudes and approaching things in a different manner as such, is more in the positive than the negative.

It is a sad state of the art how the news media etc. can blow things out of proportion and add more to it than meets the eye and make costly mistakes at that.

I have been really blessed thru the years with co-workers, friends etc., who have been very supportive and positive in all walks of life in livelihood and home, and my wonderful clients for ever spreading the word, and supporting my services and the wonderful compliments from those who like to read my letters.  So why make a mountain out of a mole hill, and just let things be and get on with business as usual, and get off the old beaten track of making life miserable for those as such and enjoy life for what its worth.

The old saying goes "Life is too Short," enjoy the blessings of life and all that we have.
Coffee Anyone,
Brenda Dickison
Baker City

Community Proud Of Carter
To The Record-Courier
Glenda Carter I hope you know this community is proud of you. To see you chosen and honored at the 2010 Memorial day Concert in our nation’s capital for work you have done for all the young widows was truly inspiring.

As your story was reenacted on stage I thought of queen Esther as her uncle admonished her with “…and who knows but what you have come to this royal position for such a time as this?”

I feel humbled thinking of the help you have been giving and continue to give thru your book and your web site. God bless you for your efforts and know we’ll claim you in Haines anytime.
Evelyne Fisher
Haines, Ore.

Commander-In-Chief Went AWOL
To The Record-Courier:
As a Navy veteran, I am appalled President Obama, our Commander-In-Chief, did not lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2010. Instead, he went on vacation.

The Commander-In-Chief has an obligation to fulfill his responsibilities to our deceased soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who gave their lives to keep this country free.  He has a duty to respect our veterans and support our military forces who are currently fighting two wars.

If a military member did not show up for duty he or she would be punished, including the possible loss of pay, a reprimand, a demotion, or in a theater of war operations, the potential exists for incarceration. Our Commander-In-Chief deserves to be punished, and the punishment is to make him a one term president.

Only two previous presidents missed laying the wreath at Arlington National Cemetery.  Ronald Reagan was caught up in a prolonged economic summit in 1983 and George H. W. Bush was campaigning in 1992. Prior miscues by presidents cannot justify Obama’s dereliction of duty.  He should have changed his vacation plans or taken time out to be at Arlington National Cemetery.

Our phantom Commander-In-Chief, who refused to wear an American flag in his lapel during the presidential campaign, and who did not place his hand over his heart for the national anthem at another campaign event, has just gone AWOL on Memorial Day 2010.
Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, NH

June 10, 2010 Opinions E-mail

Stealing From The Dead

Memorial Day is a time to pay tribute to those who have gone before us, a time to honor veterans who gave their lives for our freedoms and a time to relax with family and friends. But for some, it apparently is a time to get free flowers, vases and plants. Stealing, of course, is wrong in any form, but stealing from the dead and their grieving families is just plain icky.

Yet every year we hear reports of missing items from grave sites — flags are gone from a veteran’s grave, small tokens or other items of endearment are missing from children’s headstones, or some items are just moved from one grave to another.
Seriously? Someone is too lazy to pick or too cheap to buy their own flowers to decorate a grave so they rob flowers from one grave to place them on another? Yes, it happens — you can almost feel the love there! 

Unfortunately, outside of locking up the cemetery, or policing the area 24-7, there is not much that can be done to prevent this from happening. Fortunately, for the most part, people are respectful of grave sites and the families who visit them on Memorial Day. But for the one’s who aren’t we have to remember, they can steal the cross, they can steal the vase, they can even steal the flowers, but they can’t take away our memories or our heartfelt sentiments.

—Guest Opinion—
Congressional Seating
By Mark Bogart
The United States Congress is a mess.   The polarization and rancor seen during the health care debate provided clear evidence, if any was needed, that Congress is dysfunctional.  As a result, our government is losing the support of the American people and the confidence of other nations around the world. 

Approval ratings for Congress have been dismal, and many Americans are looking for an alternative to the two-party system.

With this as a backdrop, a recent article in the AARP Bulletin caught my attention.  We’ve all heard the expression that “sometimes little things mean a lot,” and this little thing may be a good example.

The article’s title, “Break Up the Parties,” may sound revolutionary, but the proposal is quite simple.  The author, Joe Reeder focuses on a system known as Miles’ Law: “Where you stand depends on where you sit.” 

As we can plainly see in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, our lawmakers sit together by party with an aisle dividing them.  In the past, “reaching across the aisle” was often seen as a good faith attempt to work together for the good of the country. Now it’s more often portrayed as a betrayal of the one’s values and those of his or her constituents. Scott Brown, the Republican who filled the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Edward Kennedy, is a perfect illustration. He was seen as a hero by his party after defeating his Democratic opponent in liberal Massachusetts and standing against the health care reform bill.  Then he was called a traitor when he supported a financial reform proposal favored by many Democrats.
What would happen if Congressional seating were done alphabetically by name, or using some other system unaffected by party affiliation?

School teachers have used seating charts throughout known history to reduce misbehavior and inattention.  Maybe it’s time for Congress to give it a try.  Teachers know that negative energy can build when it’s concentrated in one area, whether in the classroom, on the playground or elsewhere. 

Throw in an emotional topic, and mob-type behavior can ignite.  As we’ve seen protests turn violent throughout our history, three elements are always present: a large number of people, a controversial issue, and an opponent, real or imagined.  What starts out as a quiet simmer can turn quickly to a full boil.

Here’s another example that may be more familiar.  You’re at a basketball game between two rival teams, and a trip to the playoffs is at stake.  Normally civil and intelligent people will scream furiously at referees, coaches and even players. With red faces and clinched fists, they respond vehemently each time a foul is called, always believing their team to be innocent.

If they were not packed tightly together surrounded by their allies, would their behavior be the same?  Sports are structured to build tension, but should the legislative process follow the same principle?

In addition to the emotional impact of partisan seating, there is an intellectual restriction as well. When lawmakers spend much of their time surrounded by one point of view, they miss the opportunity to fully understand other views. Their energy goes into defending a position rather than understanding all of its implications.

Starting with Reeder’s application of school-house strategy, it isn’t hard to come up with other ideas that might reduce the bickering and narrow-mindedness.
If a teacher could determine the seating arrangement, we could also hire a principal to take away recess for misbehaving Congressmen.  Or a coach could give a pep talk and make Senator’s run when they fail to display teamwork.  A school psychologist might be assigned to help some work on anger management.  And if that doesn’t work, the cook might help them get more fiber in their diet.

Since this is such a persistent problem, school staff may need more help.  So if all else fails, we should hire a panel of reality show judges (one with a British accent, of course) to critique legislators’ performance.  Then we need to set up a fan call-in system and send one Representative and one Senator home each week.

—Letters To The Editor—

Ungodly Idiots Want To Remove God From Pledge Of Allegiance

To The Record-Courier:
First I want to correct a statement made in my last letter to the editor on home grown idiots. It should have read the Mayor of New York was sad or sorry the suv bomber wasn’t a T party member. Looks like our Government, especially the Obama emendation can’t decide who’s side they are on, the illegal’s, the Mexican President or the American people. Maybe if Mexico was a better country to its people they wouldn’t be running for the border plus clean up their Country.

Obama is a little silent on the oil spill also. BP seems to be giving the orders all the way around. Refusing any outside help while our beach fronts and inner water way are being overrun with oil because of their mistakes. Me think there’s more to this than meets the eye.

Back to this country. Do you know that there’s still the ungodly idiots who want to remove God from the pledge of allegiance to this country? Makes me wonder what country and what god their allegiance is to? There’s still a fight in Congress over the federal government and its system and it mandates high levels of taxpayers funding for abortion, and yes you can be fined if you don’t buy into it. There are pro-life pharmacists who risk losing their jobs because they refuse to facilitate abortions. Do you know that even lawyers are being threatened in Muslim countries if they agree to help any Christian converts. So much for any kind of religious liberties. Also the so-called “Fairness” Doctrine, which is nothing more than a cover up to censor Christians and conservatives in broadcasting, promoted by Speaker Pelosi and the Obama administration hiding under the guise of “localism” and diversity.

The ACLU is still suing courtrooms displays of the “Ten Commandments.” Seems God and His Word bother these people a lot. They don’t understand it was God Himself who sent these words, not man. It also seems that Obama and his administration are trying to divide Jerusalem. It is very crucial that America stand with Israel, or global terrorism could score an enormous victory. God’s own Word, the Bible made a stern warning about the state of Israel, which includes all of Jerusalem. He said, He would bless those who bless her and curse those who curse her. Mr. Obama, you had better read your Bible, better yet believe it, because this includes you and the United States. Last but not least, parents find out what your kids are being taught in school. Many teaching are undermining this great country and our freedom.

Richard Fox
Baker City, Ore.

Clean Up B.S. Along With Oil Spill
To The Record-Courier:
I see on TV the president wants that oil problem fixed pronto, if not sooner. Isn’t he the guy with a Harvard degree and the Nobel Peace Prize? So why doesn’t he go down and show the boys how to fix this leak or maybe he could send the world renown scientist Al Gore down to fix the problem. I guess they are both too busy so he sent a bunch of Congressmen down to Louisiana without any tools or work clothes on the taxpayer’s dime and they didn’t know what to do so they made a bunch of speeches and now we have the problem of cleaning up all that B.S. on top of the oil mess.
Grover Mann
Lincoln City, Ore.

Memorial Day Decorations Missing
To The Record-Courier:
Going up to the cemetery on Memorial Day recently and enjoying  all the beautiful flags etc.., and flowers displayed for our loved ones was an awesome sight to behold. We have, as most do, several family members resting peacefully in at the cemetery.
In our most gruesome discovery as my husband went to place a flag by his dad’s grave, we discovered that a vase belonging to a family member, and that he had left there for his dad, was missing. Yes, I mean missing/stolen in lieu of our celebration.....for the meaning of it, etc. It would be more meaningful and there would be no questions asked if someone were to return the vase. Knowing full well if this happened to you, and whoever it may be, you would feel robbed of the individual resting peacefully, without raising the dead to fight what is rightfully theirs to be laid to rest, etc.

It seems to me, that if this is taking place, maybe hidden cameras should be installed to catch the thieves and put this to rest at that. Why do people do this  even when there is little value involved? Not being able to decorate the graves in the future or display our flags in all their glory would leave a much undesirable cemetery to look and awe over. So I do hope for all the readers of this paper that if anything is of value, a vase, etc., it might be best to leave it at home and have something else set up as a memorial for that loved one.

Rest assured I do hope they catch the thieves doing what they are doing. We had a few things stolen from us as well that had special memories etc., and not that they were worth anything, it is the memories that count. So please return without any questions asked! We are holding off in reporting this to the police as a crime in hopes that you will do what we are asking you. Thank You!
Coffee Anyone!
The Rod Dickison Family
c/o Brenda Dickison
Baker City, Ore. 

May 27, 2010 Opinions E-mail
—Letters To The Editor—
Thank You!
To The Record-Courier:
Thank you for your support. Thank you for your vote. And thank you for your energy. Last night’s victory could not have happened without your hard work and I am forever grateful for all that you did.

I am honored to be the nominee of the Republican Party to be Oregon’s next Governor. Oregon's comeback is one step closer to reality.

But now is no time to rest on our laurels. We have a lot of work ahead of us.
I’m traveling around the state to begin uniting Oregonians. Whether you come from a farm or live in the city, our needs are the same: a good paying job to put food on the table and a good education for our children. I believe that by bringing people together we can create jobs, improve our education system and control reckless spending.

With your continued support, we will win this fall and put Oregon on the path to prosperity.
Chris Dudley
Candidate For Oregon Governor

Thank You Merchants
To The Record-Courier:
The Huntington Museum and Chamber of Commerce would like to thank all the Baker Merchants that were so kind to donate items for our May Day Auction that was held on May 1, 2010. We had a rainy day so had to have it in the VFW Hall. We did very good on raising funds and appreciate all the Baker Merchants for their donations. Thanks to All.
Norma Barton,
Secretary/Treasure of Museum
Huntington, Ore.

Statement On Primary Election
To The Record-Courier:
I am very thankful that so many Oregonians had my back and gave me their vote of confidence while I have been stuck in Washington, D.C.,  fighting to rein in the Wall Street banks that received an outrageous $700 billion bailout with taxpayer dollars.  Wall Street greed, the war  in Iraq, and Bush tax cuts for the most fortunate few in our society wrecked our economy and cost us millions of jobs, and Republicans, Independents, and Democrats alike are sickened by these examples of  unlimited federal government and special interest politics.

I intend to campaign hard this year to make certain that Oregon interests - not  Wall Street interests - are represented next year in the U.S Senate.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden

Aircraft Carriers In Jeopardy
To The Record-Courier:
An article in the Navy Times titled “Strike group mission expands far beyond simple escort” has me concerned.

The aircraft carrier strike group is composed of a carrier and air wing, a submarine, and five or six escort destroyers and cruisers.  The escorts protect the carrier by interdicting enemy units attacking the group.

Unfortunately, at times the carrier has only one escort because the other ships are dispersed hundreds or even thousands of miles from the carrier to carry out “patrol missions, exercises and port calls”. An example of this policy occurred in 2008 when the Carrier Theodore Roosevelt visited South Africa while some of its escorts were in the Mediterranean and another escort went to France for a D-Day event.

As stated, the Navy is comfortable dispersing the ships because we are not “facing direct, hot war threats,” but what would happen if Russia or China with its submarines and missile delivery systems decides to launch surprise attacks against our carriers?  One escort and the air wing cannot protect a carrier from a large scale attack.

Our carrier strike groups should remain intact when they are deployed, and ancillary events should be handled by other ships in the fleet, or possibly not at all.
We currently have 283 naval ships, which is the smallest U.S. Navy since 1916, and it is 17 ships short of the recognized minimum of 300 ships.  It is a woefully inadequate number of ships.
We need more ships.
Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, NH

May 20, 2010 Opinions E-mail
This We Think...
BP Oil Spill
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is taking shape to be one the world’s worst disasters in terms of what it is doing to our environment, wildlife and economy — right up there with Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake. Obviously BP should be held liable for the clean up costs of the oil spill as well as cover the economic losses to the Gulf Coast and fishing industry, and compensate the families of the 11 who were killed in the explosions on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. But if accusations made by a survivor of the Deepwater  Horizon  explosions, Mike Williams, chief electronics technician, are true, BP should also face criminal charges.

Williams said the destruction of the Deepwater Horizon had been building for weeks in a series of mishaps. He said that there were a number of procedures for how to deal with the problems that were happening, but those procedures were not followed. There have been accusations of BP cutting corners to reduce costs because they were overbudget, and overlooking safety problems to speed up production time.

We’re not talking about a minor malfunction or an oops, we dropped the ball here — we’re talking about the destruction of an entire ecosystem and several endangered species, the demise of the Florida seafood industry, and the loss of 11 lives.
Our justice system prosecutes people for negligent crimes daily. If BP is found to be negligent, why should this situation be any different?

—Letters To The Editor—
Triathlon Was A Huge Success
To The Record-Courier:
The YMCA mini triathlon May 8 was a wonderful community competition involving all ages and athletic abilities. My hat's off to YMCA Fitness/ Aquatics Director Laurie Wittich, YMCA staff, and volunteers who successfully pulled off a very complicated event. It was the first triathlon in Baker City in over 10 years.

Here are some of the highlights.  Surprisingly young finishers earning triathlete status were Emma Hardesty, age 7, brother Dallas Hardesty, age 8, and Jack Cahill, age 8; and at the other end of the age range was finisher 77-year-old Chick Fillebrown.

Overall winner with a total time of 30:39 was David Henry, 25.  It was again a bit of a surprise to see 2nd and 3rd places overall going to a couple of very young men, Dominic Clay, 14, and Travis Smith, 15.

Travis Smith also distinguished himself with the fastest swim time finishing 400 yards in 4:30, narrowly beating Andrew Bryan, 45, by one second.

The fastest biker was David Henry, who finished 6 miles in 15:30. Fastest runner was 53-year-old Dan Lee, who covered the one-mile course in 6:37.

The overall fastest-woman title went to Elishah Thomas, 33, who crossed the finish line in 37:57.  She was also fastest woman in the bike leg, 20:35.  Fastest woman swimmer was Annie Martin, 18, 4:59.  And fastest woman runner was Stacy Bingham, 33, 6:53.

The YMCA's mini triathlon was a huge success with many participants eager for the next one. What do you say, Laurie? A second, perhaps longer triathlon this summer?
Gary Dielman
Baker City

Sweet Notions vs. Bittersweet  Memories
To The Record-Courier:
 Ah yes, a combination of sorts as one would say, but I would like to challenge any one if not all of you to try something new and different other than the same oh same. But don’t think for a moment of time that rhubarb and strawberry pie, and cobblers are old-time favorites that have been passed down through the years of various generations. Kind of like the penny issue vs. our candy.

When we went on our vacation we bought a recipe of the Early American Cookbook to see some of the old time favorites of our early settlers and some we will probably try. They say it is for the modern kitchen, compared to what they cooked with back then. Makes me wonder when all that will be abolished for the sake of history of our forefathers.

A wonderful friend of ours, many of you out there know this individual, recently gave me a generous portion of rhubarb and I was asking myself what to do with it. I didn’t know what to make, not to mention strawberry rhubarb is one of my favorites, so I did some brainstorming and came up with a combination of a rhubarb/huckleberry pie. I have hopes my huckleberry pickers are plentiful this year and I will make contact later in the summer for my summer pickings.

Use about two cups of rhubarb cut and about three cups of huckleberries, maybe a little less, and three cups of sugar.  Put this in pan. I used about a half cup of cornstarch mixed with some water to thicken the mixture. Tapioca can be used as well and cook on the stove to tenderize the rhubarb then I added a pinch of rum (optional), pinch of nutmeg, pinch of cloves, dab of vanilla, lemon juice, plus half of a cup of applesauce with cinnamon.

I used regular ready Betty Crocker rolled up pie crust and then I used a pizza pan with the holes and covered with foil, poking holes in the foil to let hot air cook the pie and make the pie nicely done and not over done on the crust. Cookie sheets can be used but this works best for me.  Most recipes call for 350 degrees, just watch while baking. Cooking on the stove first helps to cut down the oven time for baking and making a messy clean up afterward. Enjoy the delightful flavor of something different for a new kind of flare in pie baking.

Who likes to clean up their own messes anyway? Kind of like the recent issues of the oil spill that is taking place in our wonderful world of politics these days and not to mention our weather and the economy. Now the gas prices are going up again and could sky rocket. Another thing worth mentioning is remember the days when candy used to be a penny and no taxing on top of that little number? The old saying goes “A penny earned is a penny saved or now well spent.” Now I wonder with the new penny tax on gummy bears if what we get at the Dollar Tree stores will be a dollar plus one cent. Can’t win for loosing I guess. Candy in most cases went from five cents to whatever these days. They are making up for the penny issues of the good old days and using that to tax our gummy bears. No lost cause there with that in the back of our mind and having to identify the difference of what will be for taxing our candy and spoiling our sweet tooth.
Coffee Anyone?
Brenda Dickison
Baker City, Ore.

If You Love This Country, Let’s Hear From You
To The Record-Courier:
Well here I go again, spouting off, sure wish more of you would do the same! If you really love this country say so, because it’s in deep trouble! This includes you too Pastors. It’s time to wake up the body of Christ to the fight on hand and much bigger fight coming. God is expecting warfare from us both in spirit and voice. Maybe you don’t realize God could turn his face from us.

We as believers must stand for the truth and speak against all untruths no matter who is offended. I personally am mad as hell when the truth is attacked but lies after lies are embraced by the ignorant and even our own government. Want some examples? Ignore the laws of the Constitution, the foundation this country was born on. Silence the Christian values and prayer wherever you can. Distort the Founding Fathers lives and their values!

I have to say frankly, without hesitation, if you still cannot see this; your head must be buried in the sand, leaving the biggest part a target! Pastors, I’ve talked to the editor of the Baker City Herald some time back about putting the “Devotion” page back into the paper if he was shown you had an interest. To date no one has, why not? Do you know, all faiths pray, even the ungodly ones? Could it be the one that is under attack is the only one with the truth and it must be stopped in order for the lie to survive?

Obama stated, “You could tell a person’s character by the people he surrounds himself with. Does this apply to him also, because he sure has surrounded himself with socialist and anti-American agendas? He promises changes, but I don’t think most Americans thought changes meant destroying the values and dignity that this country has stood for since its birth! That brave lady in Arizona should be given a medal for standing up to the federal government and Obama for her State’s rights for illegal immigration stoppage. Laws have been on the books for years without any action. Obama I think had plans to legalize them all for their vote! She may have messed up some of Obama’s plans.

I believe Obama has what is called, “Vision of Grandeur,” he sees himself as a person who always knows best, what is best, cannot make mistakes, so there’s nothing to apologize for, Hitler was the same way. American has been blessed by God because of its obedience to His Word, now we have the ignorant who want to take this from us. Don’t let them! Most unbelievers, “sinners” the Bible calls them, refuse to come to God out of fear of giving something up, not knowing without Him they can’t! We know we have home grown terrorists, we didn’t know we also have home grown idiots like the the mayor of New York who said the SUV bomber wasn’t a Tea Party member.

Question? Why is gas 26 cents higher in Baker then in La Grande?
Richard Fox
Baker City, Ore.

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Wednesday, 07 July 2010